Stocking Your Pantry for the Holidays

by in Holidays, November 28th, 2012

Stocking Your Pantry for the HolidaysYou have all the spices, dried fruits and nuts you’ll need for the perfect holiday bakeathon. But are your coveted jars of ground cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg from years gone by? Are the lids perhaps partially unscrewed or maybe even missing in action? That box of raisins you opened for your neighbor’s “welcome to the neighborhood” oatmeal raisin cookies may need to go, and the walnuts you are squirreling away have perhaps seen better days.

Yes, everything has a shelf life. If you bake with ingredients past their prime, they may not send you to the hospital, but they may taste like hospital food.

If you cannot remember when you purchased that box of baking soda, chances are it needs to go in the garbage along with that old fruitcake in the freezer that your Aunt Franny baked pre-Food Network days.

If you’re still not convinced that you need to purge your spices, do the smell test: If it has zero scent, ditch it. Spices, especially cinnamon, have oils that lose their character when exposed to heat, light and age.

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December Food Festivals

by in Events, November 27th, 2012

Candy Cane cookiesBy now, we hope you’ve put a substantial dent in the Thanksgiving leftovers and are ready to move on for a couple more weeks until the Christmastime food festival drought starts. Until then, there will be warming beers, warm cookies and warm entertainment keeping the spirit alive.

Indio International Tamale Festival, Indio, Calif., Dec. 1-2: The Mexican treat of pre-Hispanic origin is a serious victual requiring a small workforce (i.e., large family) to produce. Perhaps that’s why tamales are really only prevalent during holidays, like Day of the Dead, the Christmas season and this two-day fiesta in Indio, which has been a staple since 1992. There will be a cook-off with traditional and gourmet categories as well as an eating contest punctuated by folkloric dancing and live music from four stages at this annual event named one of the top-10 “All-American Food Festivals” by Food Network.

More food festivals

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Have You Visited the Next Iron Chef Online Headquarters?

by in Shows, November 27th, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: RedemptionWeek after week, you come to FN Dish to get the latest scoop on The Next Iron Chef, read exclusive exit interviews from eliminated rivals, caption sneak-peek images, cast your vote in Rival Recipe cook-offs and more. But did you know that there’s an entire Next Iron Chef online headquarters dedicated to this season’s chefs and the judges? That’s right — we’ve created an all-access Next Iron Chef guide at FoodNetwork.com/NIC where you can discover never-before-seen images, one-on-one video interviews with rivals and insider information from Food Network’s culinary team, and even cast your vote in the Next Iron Chef Fan Vote.

If you haven’t been there to check it out yet, we invite you to take a look around to see what’s there.

Photos
Interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the rivals and judges on set? Then you’ll want to flip through this revealing slideshow. Want to see what went down each week? Check out the photo galleries below for a roundup of the top, most-memorable moments from every episode.

Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4

Have you voted for your favorite rival chef?

Behind the Booklet: 50 Easy Appetizers

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Magazine, November 27th, 2012

50 easy appetizers
Hors d’oeuvres and appetizers are often the best part of a meal to me. Maybe it’s because finger foods are just more fun to eat or because they’re usually paired with a cocktail. When Food Network Kitchens were coming up with ideas for 50 Easy Appetizers (page 166) for the November issue of Food Network Magazine, the possibilities seemed endless.

Recipes below

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Taking the Rules Seriously – Critical Moments

by in Shows, November 26th, 2012

Chefs Vigneron and Mendelsohn with Alton BrownI am not sure that any chef would be pleased to be informed that they had to produce a meal almost entirely from the contents of a can. But if you want to become The Next Iron Chef, those are exactly the sort of obstacles that you have to overcome.

Chef Falkner’s mystery can contained a substance as far removed from USDA prime beef as I am from Brad Pitt. Despite this, she astounded everyone at the judging plinth by producing a dish so fine that it would have been acceptable in some of the best restaurants on the planet. It really was that good.

Chefs Mendelsohn and Vigneron, however, were far less successful. Chef Mendelsohn’s dish lacked balance, while the salt levels in Chef Vigneron’s dish drew the words “inedible” from all three judges and Alton Brown. It made it pretty obvious that these two high school friends would be competing against each other in the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

Keep reading and get an extended preview of the next episode

Cheesy Mexican Lasagna — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 26th, 2012

Poblano and Corn LasagnaAfter a long weekend of enjoying Turkey Day leftovers, you’ve by now had your fill of all things mashed, stuffed and sweet. For a taste of something different, look to Marcela Valladolid’s Corn and Poblano Lasagna (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine, a big-batch recipe that is sure to please even those lingering family members still visiting after the holiday.

Marcela puts a Mexican spin on an Italian classic by using garlic-laced poblano chile peppers as the base of her dish. She purées golden corn with a splash of cream and fresh thyme, and this mixture will serve as the sauce layered between the charred peppers, sautéed zucchini and Mexican Oaxaca cheese. If you can’t find Oaxaca cheese, substitute creamy mozzarella instead — it will work just as well. The beauty of this dish is that it’s made with no-boil noodles, so the sheets of lasagna don’t need to be cooked before going into the oven. After baking for only one hour, this comforting lasagna becomes golden brown and deliciously rich. Be sure to let it rest for about 15 minutes before enjoying so the gooey melted cheese doesn’t ooze uncontrollably when you cut into it.

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Monk Fruit Sweeteners

by , November 26th, 2012

monk fruit
Sugary goodness, but no calories in sight. Is the newest no-calorie sweetener made from the ancient Monk fruit too good to be true? Find out.

What is Monk Fruit?
This ancient Chinese fruit is also known as luo han guo. According to my go-to Chinese ...

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Chatting With the Latest Next Iron Chef: Redemption Exile

by in Shows, November 25th, 2012

Next Iron Chef Rival ChefsThe fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption is in full swing with now only seven familiar chefs battling it out again to prove they’ve got the skills to win the ultimate prize: the title of Iron Chef.

Each chef will try to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef must go home each week. Every Sunday, FN Dish brings you exclusive exit interviews with the latest chef to go home.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

Enter for a Chance to Win Flag Conversion Towels

by in Contests, November 25th, 2012

Flay Conversion Towel GiveawayThis flag conversions towel is both super stylish and handy in the kitchen. It has a simple but sophisticated black-and-white kitchen print on the back and common measurement conversions on the front that will make the often unnerving task of converting between cooking units a snap. They add a touch of elegance to any kitchen and make the perfect gift for a busy host or hostess (it’s a great stocking-stuffing).

You can buy your own flag conversions tea towel here, or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win one. To enter: Tell us a simple way to add a touch of sophistication to your kitchen in the comments. We’re giving away a towel to six lucky, randomly selected commenters.

Read official rules before entering